On the first weekend of COP21, 4th-6th of December 2015, the Alternatiba was held in a small suburb on the outskirts of Paris. The Alternatiba is a parallel event that runs alongside COP for the past few years that highlights and showcases alternative living practices. This year they revolved around 5 main themes with an additional 4 smaller themes.
The main 5 were :
- Agriculture- which was mainly a small amount of exhibits which then lead to a huge farmers market come educational grocers that not only sold their alternatively made produce but also had educational information on the processes used and the way they make their business sustainable.
- Climate and energy – which focused on new energy practices and renewable energies that can be easily accessed to assist us in daily life such as efficient and cheap solar cookers and self produced energy via dynamo systems.
- Mobilisations – which highlighted the actions and campaigns being run throughout the world on sustainable living and alternative sustainable lifestyles
- Eco-housing- which focused a lot around hemp style production and utilization for insulation systems as well as building blocks.
- Education- which was mostly focused on educating tools and styles to be used to educate primarily younger children and how to nurture this responsibility of the environment into them.
There was so much passion and love in the eyes of all the people there. They knew so well what they wanted and what they were fighting for. They were fighting for a better tomorrow and they had found an awesome alternative to it. It truly was inspiring to be around all these amazing people.
Seeing this and whilst I was seated on the side of the road listening to a random group of Accordion players play a medley of songs whist the sun set really brought out something completely different and new in me. I had this strange feeling and it felt like an epiphany moment. I started to feel like I could be doing so much more but I don’t. I now started to understand that I can’t do it all, over the first week of COP I’ve learnt that, I’ve started to understand my place in the big picture of this climate change movement, actions and I understand I need to focus on it. However, I do feel that I need to do more in this field of focus that I have discovered. I feel maybe hey I’ve just found my focus maybe I should cut myself some slack, don’t be so tough on yourself so fast.
Moving forward from this, I know who I am in this movement, I know what I need to accomplish and how far I can go. I want to make more positive change back in my country, I want to learn as much as I can in cop and take that back and find people who are willing to take action with me and bring our social and environmental issues up to a bigger platform so that we can be heard and hopefully make a difference.
However said, in Malaysia, from my experience, yes people get involved and people want change but I feel one reason things don’t go anywhere with actions and campaigns in Malaysia is because we lack love, we lack that passion for what we fight for. This is something very clear in the French, when they have a cause to fight for , they are embodied with love and passion. That is, to me, what makes them strong and noticed. Maybe that’s why the French Revolution is still talked about till today.